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New recommendations may mean lower BAC

If Texas implements recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board, the blood alcohol content allowed before a drunk driving charge may decrease from .08 percent to .05 percent. This recommendation was advanced by the NTSB in the hope of reducing car accident rates due to drunk driving. The NTSB has also made recommendations to allow police officers to confiscate licenses of those who fail field sobriety tests.

These recommendations come in the wake of statistics that show that drunk driving is involved in about one-third of all traffic accident deaths. To reduce this number, the NTSB has urged states to lower their BAC thresholds, claiming that doing so will reduce the number of deaths each year due to DUI by 500 to 800.

If Texas lawmakers take this advice and pass a bill to lower the BAC allowed percentage, the move would have an instant impact on drivers across the state. Currently, the .08 percent limit allows an average man to consume around four alcoholic beverages per hour; under the new guidelines, that number might be cut in half. This means that far more individuals would be found guilty of DUI even if they had been drinking very moderately before driving.

If these laws are changed, this could have repercussions for lawsuits regarding personal injuries in car crashes. Drivers would be over the limit after consuming much less alcohol, thereby making it easier to prove that a driver would be impaired. These stiffer guidelines may result in higher damages being award to victims of traffic accidents related to drunk driving.

Source: CNN, "Tougher drunk-driving threshold proposed to reduce traffic deaths", Mike Ahlers, May 15, 2013

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